Our church had a baby boom when I was pregnant with my first. I attended baby showers, back to back, for months. Pregnant, hungry and emotional, I remember talking to veteran homeschool moms over cake and coffee at a shower. Determined to homeschool from the get-go, I began researching homeschooling laws in our state. The more I read, researched and thought about the laws, fear gripped me. I shared these fears with these moms and they basically just brushed it off. I mentioned that I was afraid that it would soon become illegal to homeschool in America. One woman, who had already graduated four of her own, simply smiled and said, “I wouldn’t worry about it,” and then tried changing the subject of conversation. I was upset. Didn’t she see that times were changing? That America isn’t where it used to be when she began homeschooling?
It’s been ten years since that conversation and, well, it is still legal to homeschool. Sure, certain laws have changed some for the good and some for the bad but, today, I still have the freedom to homeschool my children. Back then I wouldn’t have believed that it would be possible. So consumed with fear, I was convinced that some sort of tragedy was going to happen forcing my children into the hands of strangers. I’m not saying that it isn’t possible but what I am realizing is, I need to be thankful for the freedoms I have today and I need to be mindful of the ones who gave it to us.
You see, the modern homeschool movement began around the time that this veteran mom started homeschooling, in the 1970’s. Even though homeschooling was legal, there was a battle to get many school boards and administrators on board with the fast growing movement. I talked to a former homeschooler who grew up in the 70’s and she tells me that her mom wouldn’t let her and her siblings play outside during school hours for fear of what officials would say. It wasn’t as common and accepted as it is today, families such as these paved the way for us.
There will always be challenges to face and different rules and regulations that might get in the way, but let us not forget the reason this country was founded. The Puritans left England for religious freedom. They first went to Holland but the reason they left was because they feared their children were getting too comfortable with Dutch living. They came to America and half of them died that first winter. They suffered and sacrificed. I say this to say, times have been worse. Maybe it will become illegal to homeschool in America one day, but we aren’t there yet. Cherish each day that you have with your child. Instill love, godliness and character into your child, today. It’s been ten years since that conversation. Imagine if I had spent all that time worrying about the future instead of focusing on my child. Be thankful for what we have now and give your child the best you’ve got! I am not encouraging you to ignore the signs of the times or be lazy. If you want to be active in keeping the future of homeschooling, look at the HSLDA website and see how you can help, just don’t be fearful. The worst thing you could do is let fear grip you and take your focus of your children. Enjoy them and the time you have with them!